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The Vault

Very Early Mars Pistol #4 at RIA

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Until the midle of the 20th century, the most powerful automatic pistol made was Sir Hugh Gabbett-Fairfax’s Mars pistol. With the .45 caliber version approaching the energy of a .45 Winchester Magnum, it was quite the accomplishment for a gun designed initially in 1898! Well, RIA has a very early example of the Mars – [...]

Japanese Inagaki and Sugiura Pistols at RIA

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The most common Japanese pistols used during World War II were the Type 14 and Type 94 Nambu designs, by a huge margin. However, there were a number of other handguns used in small numbers, and today we’re looking at two of those. The first is the Sugiura, essentially a copy of the Colt 1903 [...]

Schouboe .32ACP Pistol at RIA

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Before he adapted it to .45 caliber for US Army pistol trials, Jens Schouboe was building his pistol design in .32 ACP (7.65mm Browning). It was a blowback action, hammer fired, and very quick and easy to field strip. The gun was reliable and well made, but just didn’t catch on in the market, and [...]

A Selection of Chinese Mystery Pistols at RIA

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During the 1920s and 1930s, a combination of civil wars and international arms embargoes led to a lot of domestic firearms production in China. The size and quality of manufacturing facilities varied widely – everything from massive factories established with European technical assistance to one-man shops only a step or two above being blacksmiths. The [...]

Collected Works of John Pedersen

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John Pedersen was one of the more prolific and successful gun designers in American history, having even been described by John Moses Browning as “the greatest gun designer in the world”. And yet, many people only know about Pedersen from his unsuccessful toggle-locked rifle or his WWI Pedersen Device that never saw action. In truth, [...]

North Korean Type 70 Pistol at RIA

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The “Hermit Kingdom” of North Korea has a number of somewhat unusual military firearms that are not quite direct copies of anything else, but we very rarely get to see example of them up close. Well, here is an excellent exception: RIA is selling a North Korean Type 70 pistol at the upcoming Premiere auction. [...]

Grant Hammond .32ACP Prototype at RIA

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Grant Hammond is best known (to the extent he is known at all) for a .45 caliber pistol submitted to US military trials in 1917 and 1918. This pistol is a proof of concept prototype embodying some of the concepts that would go into the later .45 caliber pistol, and also showing some concepts that [...]

7.65mm Radium Pistol at RIA

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The Radium was the predecessor to the much more well-known (and more successful) Ruby pistol made by Gabilonda y Urresti, which was sold to the French Army by the hundreds of thousands during World War One. The Radium was very unusual in its magazine design, which featured a spring loaded sliding grip panel instead of [...]

KrauseWerke .45ACP Luger at RIA

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The story of the .45ACP Lugers is a bit complex, and widely misunderstood. What most people believe is that two such guns were made for US military testing, one was lost, and the other is worth a million dollars. Well, that’s virtually all incorrect. In actuality, probably about a half dozen were made in a [...]

Schwarzlose 1898 Preview

Yesterday turned into a rather hectic afternoon, as a friend dropped off half a dozen fantastic guns that we will be out shooting tomorrow. Yesterday was my opportunity to become acquainted with how they work and prepare for shooting videos today. So instead of writing an insightful and interesting post for you, I was up [...]